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Top 10: Premier League games of 2011

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2011 was quite a year on football pitches up and down the nation in what has been cited by many as the best league in the world.

 

Indeed, the Barclays Premier League has seen record goalscoring, flamboyant skill and tremendous team performances in the last calendar year.

 

GiveMeFootball justifiably feels football fans should be reminded of the games that gripped us all during the year that was 2011. Here are our top ten games - do you agree?

10. CHELSEA 2-1 MANCHESTER UNITED (Stamford Bridge, March 1st 2011)

Kicking us off was the game between title heavyweights Chelsea and Manchester United back in March.

This day belonged to the side from West London as Blues fans said hello to curly-locked January signing David Luiz. Signed for his defensive presence, the flamboyant Brazilian served up a treat for Chelsea fans with his first goal for the club on 50 minutes.

This was in response to a 29th minute Wayne Rooney effort which put the Red Devils in charge of the game and indeed the title race. Chelsea gave themselves every chance however on 80 minutes when Chris Smalling was adjudged to have brought down Chelsea's Yuri Zhirkov in the box.

Frank Lampard did the rest from the spot and Chelsea won to silence any of the doubters who suggested the title race was over.

9. LIVERPOOL 3-1 MANCHESTER UNITED (Anfield, March 6th 2011)

Liverpool always like to get one over on their old foes from along the East Lancashire Road, and the Kop got exactly that in March.

Step forward Dirk Kuyt. This proved to be arguably the finest performance from the Dutchman in a Reds shirt as he struck a hat-trick to overcome Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

The win too further enhanced Kenny Dalglish's god-like reputation at Anfield (if it had ever in diminished) by the adoring Scouse public.

8. BLACKPOOL 4-3 BOLTON WANDERERS (Bloomfield Road, May 14th 2011)

It was a stunning game back in May at Bloomfield Road as Ian Holloway's Tangerines boosted their hopes of Premier League survival with this incredible victory.

With seven goals shared, it was influential captain Charlie Adam who eventually got the winner on 63 minutes with a shot deep inside the Bolton penalty box.

In the end Blackpool didn't have enough to beat the drop but Ian Holloway's side were remembered fondly for their cavalier style and willingness to get the ball down and play in an attractive pass and move fashion.

7. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3-3 ARSENAL (White Hart Lane, April 20th 2011)

The North London derby is good at the best of times but this particular fixture was a stand out. Both gunning to finish in the Premier League's top four positions, both teams went for it in a highly commendable game.

Arsenal led 2-1 in just 12 minutes after Walcott's opener but Spurs levelled through Van Der Vaart just two minutes later. With the Gunners going into the break with a 3-2 advantage, Tottenham hauled back their greatest rivals courtesy of a Van Der Vaart penalty after Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was correctly ajudged to have brought down Aaron Lennon in the box.

Arsenal went on to secure Champions League football at the expense of Tottenham.

6. WIGAN ATHLETIC 3-2 WEST HAM UNITED (DW Stadium, May 15th 2011)

Little Wigan Athletic make our top ten with their superhuman comeback against fellow candidates for relegation, West Ham United.

In what was the definition of 'six-pointer', Roberto Martinez' worst fears were realised in the first-half as a Demba Ba double seemingly put Avram Grant's Hammers out of sight. But in a game of two halves, the half-time deficit only served to inspire the Latics to an incredible comeback, capped by a 94th minute Charles N'Zogbia winner.

This proved a decisive day as Wigan Athletic went on to survive relegation in the 2010/11 season.

5. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1-5 MANCHESTER CITY (White Hart Lane, August 28th 2011)

In what appeared an even fixture between two of the Premier League's big six, Manchester City proved victorious, and by some margin. In what was City's third game of the season, Roberto Mancini's men flexed their muscles and showed the world they can take apart even the best defences.

Edin Dzeko slotted four with deadly precision and Sergio Aguero got on the scoresheet as City put down a marker to their title rivals.

However as it turned out, there was some game to come later on this October afternoon at the home of their rivals Manchester United. See the second game on our countdown for more!

4. CHELSEA 3-5 ARSENAL (Stamford Bridge, October 29th 2011)

Just missing out on a top three spot was October's London derby.

This day truly belonged to Arsenal and their indispensable captain Robin Van Persie who struck a hat-trick taking his Premier League tally to 10 goals in the process. However, this was half the story.

After taking the lead through Frank Lampard's effort, Andre Villas-Boas' Blues seemed to press the self-destruct button with some comical defending letting Arsenal's swift passing cut them apart.

The key and most memorable moment came when Florent Malouda's loose pass was seized upon by Van Persie who strode past John Terry who tripped at the most crucial moment and Van Persie calmly rounded Cech for the fourth. This day signalled Arsenal's rebirth in a hugely forgettable season up until this point.

3. MANCHESTER UNITED 1-6 MANCHESTER CITY (Old Trafford, October 23rd 2011)

Bronze prize goes to the Manchester derby. Welcome to Manchester indeed. If any first-time viewer saw this game, they wouldn't realise how tight an affair this fixture has usually proved in recent years. This was nothing of the sort.

This day in October really signalled the rampant intent of Roberto Mancini's Citizens. Backed by Sheikh Mansour's millions, City crushed their cross-city rivals in a scoreline nobody could have ever imagined.

In a crazy game, Mario Balotelli opened the scoring to reveal a shirt sporting 'why only me' by football's pantomime villain. City hit goals two and three before Darren Fletcher's fine consolation, but then a late flurry by David Silva and substitute Edin Dzeko's brace really piled on the misery for United's red-faced Sir Alex Ferguson.

2. MANCHESTER UNITED 8-2 ARSENAL (Old Trafford, August 28th 2011)

Runners-up in our countdown are Manchester United again.

The football world wasn't half rocked back in August as Manchester United hit an inexperienced and understrength Arsenal side for 8 in a stunning game that finished 8-2.

You even felt as if Sir Alex Ferguson felt a little sorry for his old adversary in Arsene Wenger who was coming under further scrutiny for his lack of movement in the active transfer window.

By the time Ashley Young hit the second of his brace on 90 minutes which proved to be the final and tenth goal in the game, the disgruntled Arsenal faithful could barely look as the team trudged off in one of the clubs and managers darkest days.

1. NEWCASTLE UNITED 4-4 ARSENAL (St James' Park, February 5th 2011)

Reaching our coveted number one position, just who could have forgotten the mother of all comebacks way back in February from Alan Pardew's Newcastle United.

The manager seeking to make an impression with the Geordie faithful at the time must have thought he was dreaming when Cheik Tiote cracked in a sublime volley to level the game at 4-4 in the 87th minute.

What made this game stunning was the fact that Arsenal went into the half-time break a mighty 4 goals up on their opposition.

Not even the staunchest Magpies fan could have seen it coming at the break, with certain sections of the crowd disappearing for an early trip home. How they wish they stayed. A truly magical advert for the Barclays Premier League.

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